Think of your body like a car. A finely tuned piece of machinery capable of great feats but requiring general maintenance, trips to the shop and sometimes replacements and repairs. Change the oil every 5,000 miles. Rotate your tires. Tighten your belts. Change your brakes.
Like a car, your body naturally breaks down over time. The new car smell is gone at 2,000 miles. You might experience a problem or two before 20,000 miles. At 50,000 miles, there’s a lot of road behind you. At 100,000 miles, it’s time to take it a little easier when merging on the freeway.
There are things you can do in your twenties that you can’t do at 35. Things you weren’t worried about at 35 are suddenly an issue at 50. Heart, lungs, blood pressure, bladder or that ache in your lower back when sleep wrong.
Beaumont offers a roadmap of men’s health to help you know what to expect at each age and avoid having your body break down on the side of the highway.
Your twenties are a great time. Your brain will never be sharper, your body is never more equipped to build muscle and increase fitness, and your skin looks wonderful (as long as you didn’t overdo it with the sun in your teens).
This is the time in your life when stress and a sedentary lifestyle can plant the seeds for future problems. Practice managing stress, eat better and exercise frequently and you shouldn’t require too many trips to the doctor.
Your body is producing less testosterone every year after age 30 and your brain has also begun shrinking, but it’s not all bad! You’re smarter now and because you’ve been keeping active in your twenties, you’ve been able to stave off that growing waistline and avoid heart problems.
If you haven’t done a great job of staying out of the sun, you might want to see a dermatologist about any suspicious moles or skin problems. Overall, you might not be able to start as quickly or go as fast as you used to, but sticking to healthy behaviors will make the big 4-0 a piece of cake.
You’ve got a job that keeps you busy and maybe a family that keeps you even busier. You have obligations and commitments and sometimes the gym isn’t one of them. Feel those creaking joints? Chances are, they’re acting up because you aren’t using them enough. Your body can take it (the median age for male runners in America is 43!), so as long as your doctor is on board, exercise like crazy.
At age 40, you’ll have your first prostate exam, colon cancer screening and first diabetes test. Think of this as your 50,000-mile check-up.
Keep eating well. Keep exercising. Pay attention to your body. A lot of minor symptoms can indicate larger problems, so keep a close eye on your blood pressure, glucose level, cholesterol and testosterone. You might need to work extra hard to keep your mind sharp and maintain your balance (both continue to decline in your 50s) but by now you’re wise enough to know that.
Age 50 is when you may have your first colonoscopy and when you’ll schedule yearly prostate exams.
Your body should still be going strong, but it’s important to focus on your brain. Challenge yourself. Socialize. Maintain a healthy sex life. Your immune system is slowing down, so it’s good to keep up on immunizations and get a flu shot every year.
You might also experience aching joints from arthritis, which can be helped with exercise and anti-inflammatories. Most of your body’s issues will be from stagnation, not overexertion. Keep exercising. Keep eating well. You have a lot more good years ahead of you.
YOUR SEVENTIES AND BEYOND
You’re driving a classic body now, so you’ll want to take a little more care when taking those corners and backing out of the driveway. Keep exercising, eating well and keeping your brain sharp, as well as scheduling regular check-ups with your doctor. Don’t be shy about asking your doctor about any problems you’re experiencing, from sleep disorders to bladder control problems. They’ve seen and heard it all. Chances are, there’s a solution to what ails you and medications, surgery or lifestyle changes can greatly increase your quality of life if your body is breaking down in some areas.
You wouldn’t be ashamed to take your car into the shop if something was wrong. Your body is much more important.